Power, Love, Self-control

Power, love and self-control

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

 

When confronted with the challenges and difficulties in this life, that which we are commanded to overcome, (Revelations 2:7) it is often easier to, out of habit or otherwise, become the victims of whatever it is we are facing.

The response to an unexpected calamity is more than often, either to ignore it by falling into a gradual, downward spiraling depression, or to be suddenly overwhelmed by emotions of sorrow and fear, often as a result of unbelief.

Even though we know the scriptures, we still see how powerless we are against the evils of this world, whether outside our circles of influence or effecting us directly on a personal level.

What then, according to the Word of God, should our expectation be the Holy Spirit who lives and reigns in each of us, who are in Christ Jesus?

 

Power.

The power of God in us. When people look at your life, would they without hesitation say that you are full of the power of God? Would people look at the fruit of the work of your hands, and know that God’s power is mightily in work through you?

We would most certainly say that of Jesus, and yet his Word declares that if his words remain in us, then He is in us and we in him. (John 15:7)

So whatever we are facing, whatever difficulty, whether it be financial, in health, in our relationships, or a major threat to the safety of our community, we need to ask and think upon the power of God in us regarding the situation.

If you are wondering about the definition of the power of God, go and read the stories of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, David’s mighty men fighting wars, Jesus commanding the weather to behave but also the power of God through sacrifices of love.

 

Love

It is needful for us to love God above anything (or anyone) else, but are we receiving enough love from Him to love ourselves with a velocity that outshines all the troubles of this world?

We say we love God, but do we spend sufficient time in His presence? The ten minutes of prayer every morning is worth a lot but spend ten minutes with your spouse every day and see where your marriage is heading.

If we really love God, it would show in our actions, (just like any other love affair) and those actions would include ample time reading the Word of God and ample time sitting in his presence (either through meditating or verbal prayer.)

Our love for God, through our very living, should transcend into am unquenchable love for ourselves and ultimately, an equal love for others, of which the result cannot be anything but thoughts, words and actions loaded with power, love and a sound mind.

 

A Sound mind

Many of us are familiar with this verse and we read it with much comfort, sometimes missing the essence of this very phrase at the end.

The King James Version speaks of “a sound mind” and rightly so, for among men, there is nothing more productive, more effective and more powerful in the Kingdom of God, than a sound and healthy mind. Research and science keeps reminding us that most of our illnesses originates in the brain, and that if you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to align your thoughts toward more heavenly patterns of love and holiness.

Looking a bit closer at the original Greek word in the verse, sōphronismos, the meaning of the word according to Strong’s is more in the line of ‘discipline, that is, self control: – sound mind.’

Our daily habits can be the biggest culprits with many an unwanted circumstance, but the knowledge of the meaning of this verse gives us something hard to chew on. Seemingly clean thoughts does not quite emphasize the discipline and self-control needed to overcome the mountains we face.

 

If we then, in our true and genuine love for God, ask Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 7:11) harnessed with persistence in discipline and self-control, then over time and with patience, the power of God working in and through us, will be undeniable to those who are in need. It has the potential to change not only our worlds, but also the lives of so many others.

Written by:  Johannes A Snyman  Photo: Tanja Heffner

The Old Dairy

The Old Dairy

By Johannes Adriaan Snyman
“He is coming undone,” Barry said, taking a sip of his tea from the plastic cup.

“You what, mate?” John asked who just entered the leisure room at The Old Dairy.

“Steve over there,” Barry indicated with both his eyes and the cup in his hand to a middle-aged man dressed in a white overall, sitting in the corner of the room with his head hanging forward. “He is coming undone.”

“What are you on about?” John asked while pouring himself a cup of tea from his metal flask.

“Tell him Steve,” Barry mocked with a grin on his face. “Tell old John, what does the doctor say?”

Feeling sorry for himself, Steve didn’t move.

John raised his eyebrows, looking at Barry, whom in turn whispered that Steve had left his cigarettes at home. John, twice the size of either two companions, walked the four steps to where Steve was sitting, and held his own packet out with one cigarette drawn.

“Do you want a fag mate?”

Without looking up, Steve just shook his head, declining the offer.

“It’s no use, John,” Barry said with a hint of amusement in his voice. “I’ve offered him one, he doesn’t want it. He is coming undone.”

“Goodness me!” John lashed out at Barry in irritation. “Honestly mate, what are you on about?”

“Ask him,” Barry replied laughing. “He is the one all grumpy and moody.”

John looked at Steve but realized he will not be getting any explanation from him within the fifteen-minute tea break.

Even though Barry and John’s blue overalls indicated that they work in a different section of the dairy, the three of them have been processing milk for over a decade, and has consequently grown to be more than mere colleagues. Drinks after work in the pub came as natural as the British tradition itself, and they all knew Steve’s stubborn nature.

“All right then,” John said when he saw the situation was bordering on hopeless. “Let’s have it then!”
Barry who was waiting for the moment, enjoyed every second of it. “First it was ADHD. Then that got sorted with some pills. Then it was Bipolar disorder. Then that was under control. Although the man could hardly stay awake with that medication. And now it is coming undone. Steve got some new pills.”

Barry gave John a broad smile.

“Are you serious?” John retorted. “Coming undone is not even a psychiatric disorder!”

“It is now!” Barry said still filled with amusement.

“Says who?”

“Steve’s doctor of course! Is it not so Steve? Tell him Steve. Did your Doctor not tell you that you are coming undone and that you need some more pills?”

Steve still didn’t lift his head, but mumbled, “Not exactly.”

“What is it then Steve, what did the doctor say then?” Barry asked surprised.

The self-pity could not have been more audible when Steve finally spoke up and said; “He asked me what was wrong, so I didn’t know what to say, and so the only word coming out of me mouth was that I was coming undone.”

“And then?” Barry pressed him.

“Then he said it’s no problem and gave me some meds.”

The two men in blue overalls were not sure of how to respond.

“Who would have known,” John said wide-eyed, struggling to believe what he was hearing. “In this day and age, medication for coming undone.”

They sat in a moment of silence, thoughtfully drinking their tea.

John, the more sensible of the three, found the situation equally amusing but did not venture to make fun of Steve. He knew full well how irritated Steve must be by now, not having smoked a single cigarette since they started their shift at six that morning. He then decided to take a cigarette out of the packet for himself, and place the packet on the bench next to Steve, where he knew it was within Steve’s sight.

“Why are you coming undone, mate? What happened?” John asked in a respectful tone.

Steve didn’t answer.

“It’s his cousin,” Barry answered for him.

“You stay out of it!” Steve snapped at Barry, evidently having received new life.

“What is it Steve?” John kept prompting, while he noticed Steve’s eyes, fixed on the box of cigarettes.

Steve took a moment before he mumbled; “My cousin got married this weekend. ‘Wasn’t even invited.”

“It happens mate,” John said sympathetically. “I suppose it happens to all of us, isn’t that right Barry?”

Barry, who did not have the least sympathy for Steve’s pathetic condition, concurred with a low tone that he to suppose that it happens to everyone, at least once in a lifetime. Just then, he took out of his shirt pocket, his own soft pouch of cigarettes and lit one.

“It’s ridiculous!” Steve cried out startling his audience of two. His determined face looked straight on to the tiled floor somewhere in the middle of the room, and he had his tensed right hand open in front of him, as if to make a point. Holding the exact position, eyebrows raised and not looking at either of his friends, he continued; “The family is here. All the friends are here, but no, they have to get married up on’t bloody Yorkshire!”

“Oh!” John tried to be friendly by sounding interested. “Where in Yorkshire?”

“Up on’t Barnsley!” came the reply ever so quick and snappy.

John and Barry looked at each other before Barry asked; “But Steve, isn’t Barnsley your home town then?”

“Yes it is!” Steve blurted out in anger.

“And do you not still have most of you family there? Uncles and aunts and such?”

“Yes I do,” Steve replied, not very happy.

John and Barry looked at each other utterly perplexed, and without a word agreed that there would be no more sense in pursuing the logic of this conversation, as Steve’s reasoning just didn’t make sense. They both thought that it might perhaps be the new medication that seriously intervened with Steve’s thought processes, but having known him for such a long time, also realized that he didn’t need much medication for his thought patterns not to make sense.

Conversations in the leisure room has in times past varied greatly between topics such as historical British wars, to disputed geographical subjects.

Thus, Barry decided to put an end to the nonsense. “Is the meds working?”

“Don’t know” Steve mumbled.

“Sure as hell doesn’t look like it.” John remarked.

Steve, staring at the cigarettes next to him, couldn’t hold it longer and took one from the packet. Not having a lighter, he was too proud to ask, and waited until Barry lit a match and held it out to him. He pulled hard and deep, and with a shaking hand, blew the smoke out in an uncontrolled manner.

The door opened and a man in an untidy, grey suit came in.

“G‘morning,” he greeted them.

“Morning Dave,” John and Barry greeted their supervisor instantaneously.

He, while pouring his tea, looked at Steve, who resumed his despondent, head-hanging position in the corner of the room.

“What’s with him?” Dave asked the two.

“He is coming undone,” they replied in chorus.

“I beg your pardon?”

*****

Assassinating royalty

Assassinating royalty

By Johannes Adriaan Snyman

“Are you alright Sister?” Sister Elizabeth asked the young nun whom she pulled out of the water in total darkness.

“I’m alright, sister thank you,” Sister Varvara said gasping for air after having been thrown down the twenty-meter deep, abandoned mine-shaft. She looked up, but the dark of night revealed only the blackest of pits, filled with voices of hatred from above.

Elizabeth knew, the moment the Bolsheviks pushed her over the ledge on the summer’s night, their intention was murder.

“Be careful,” she said when she heard harsh voices and another person falling into the water. And another…and another. They were all men from the company of prisoners.

“Who are you?” one of the men asked.

“Sssh!” another male voice hushed him.

“I’m just curious,” he replied.

Elizabeth couldn’t see them but knew their echoing voices was not a good thing when she asked them very discreetly to be quiet. It did not have the desired effect as many other inquisitive voices rose in a soft hum. So much so, they did not even hear the small object drop into the water.

The blast of the grenade was enough to make everyone’s ears ring, and complete silence followed. After about two or three minutes, (or was it perhaps five?) some men asked if there were any hurt.

“Quiet please,” Elizabeth begged the men. “I don’t think they have gone yet…”

Just then, the second grenade fell in the midst of them, but one of the men hopped it into the water. Again, the ears rang high-pitched, but this time there was a sufficient light of flash, which lit up the shaft, in a quick sharp, bright light.

Growling sounded from close by and Elizabeth knew that at least one man was severely injured.

“God saved us this far,” she whispered softly into Sister Varvara’s ear while holding her hand. “But the painful noises from these men will surly encourage the soldiers in their deed.”

“What do you propose, Sister?” her companion asked.

“These soldiers can’t kill us directly, as they still have a conscience. So they do it in a cowardly manner,” Elizabeth continued. “We will use that, and make it more difficult for them.”

“But how?” the female voice sounded with fear.

Elizabeth’s unexpected singing sounded as delightful as a crisp, snow filled winter’s morning. As more and more voices joined in the singing of the Orthodox hymn, the fear and anxiety seemed to have vanished from every heart, being at peace with going to a Heavenly home.

The singing was with such intensity, that they failed to notice the large brushwood filling the entrance from the top. The soldiers set it alight, but the flames and smoke went up in the air, along with the fragrance of their pleasant song, not harming a single person trapped beneath.

The light of the flames was ample enough for one of the men to recognize the face of Elizabeth. He immediately knew her as the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova.

*****